“Lawrence of Arabia” is in the list of my unforgettable films.
Hence, I have high expectations for the biopic of his compatriot and contemporary, Gertrude Bell, the English writer, traveler, political officer, administrator, spy and archaeologist depicted in “Queen of the Desert”.
I’m most intrigued because they say Getrude was even more famous among the dunes than T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), after she delineated the boundaries of modern-day Iraq using pencil and ruler.
“Queen of the Desert”, directed by Werner Herzog – one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, stars Nicole Kidman as Gertrude, Robert Pattinson as Lawrence of Arabia and James Franco as Gertrude’s love interest, secretary of the embassy Henry Cadogan.
Opening on March 2 exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas, “Queen of the Desert” chronicles Gertrude’s journeys of love and loss in the Middle East during the early 20th century.
A curious and adventurous young woman eager to explore the world outside of England, Gertrude Bell goes to the British embassy in Tehran where she quickly falls in love with Henry Cadogan.
This sparks the beginning of a life-long adventure among the exotic but misunderstood people of the Middle East.
Along the way, Gertrude’s path intersects with Lawrence of Arabia and Major Charles Doughty-Wylie, the British Consul General of the Ottoman Empire.
“I call it Werner World,” says Nicole. “Werner World is just a different realm. It’s glorious. I said to him, ‘Werner, I feel like I’ve been in a dream with you for the past two-and-a-half months, and now I’ve got my feet back on earth.’ I’m at a place where I’m so interested in exploring things and going places that I haven’t been. I want my life to be full, so that means all of us – my family – up and moving to Morocco and doing this so we can have the experience.”
No doubt, Nicole’s adventurous spirit mirrors Gertrude Bell’s. Still, “Gertrude went off and lived a life that I would only dream of living,” Nicole conceded.
“What she did is amazing, but she did it through motivations that, I believe, come from huge loss so that’s fascinating in itself, too. And the landscape and what the desert gave her was her salvation.”
While Getrude proved to be a true trailblazer in a time when women were not treated as equals, especially in politics, she had ambiguous aspects, Nicole observed.
For such a free-thinking woman, “The interesting fact about Gertrude is, she didn’t support the suffragette movement. That’ fascinating.”
Check out the film’s trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUYU65NbGkk&feature=youtu.be
“Queen of the Desert” opens March 2 at Ayala Malls Cinemas distributed by Axinite Digicinema.